Combined Forces

Advanced therapies alleviate knee and wrist pain, improve mobility.

Dawn, on what would prove to be a bitterly cold winter day in Meriden, Connecticut, was still a few hours away when Ken Cutrole climbed into the back of the salt truck he was riding in to break up a salt block that had jammed the flow of salt onto the icy roads below.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Ken Cutrole

As Ken pounded away at the salt block, his partner continued to plow on through the frigid and blackened night, driving the truck at its typical snail’s pace until he came upon an accident blocking an intersection just ahead.

“I think he sort of panicked when he saw the accident because all of a sudden, he hit the air brakes,” Ken says of the driver. “Now, I was still in the back trying to break up that salt block, so when my partner hit the brake, I just went flying off of the truck.”

Ken’s fall from the truck resulted in an assortment of bumps and bruises as well as a right knee injury so severe that in the 22 years that have passed since he suffered it, Ken has undergone more than a dozen operations, including three knee replacement surgeries.

“They made sure that when I walked out of there, I was all set. And I really like that they treat you like family there. They really care about people.” – Ken

The most recent of those replacement surgeries was done last December. It was after that surgery that Ken, who moved to Florida several years ago to get away from the brutal Connecticut winters, was advised to visit Regional Rehab in Spring Hill for his rehabilitation.

“When Ken first came to us, the effects of the dozen or so surgeries he’s had on his knee were very evident because he had an enormous amount of scar tissue and tightness around that knee,” says Paul Ernandes, PT, at Regional Rehab.

“His knee was so tight, in fact, that his range of motion was almost nothing. He literally could not straighten out his knee completely or sit with his knee bent, which is a very dangerous situation for someone to be in.”

Dangerous indeed. When Paul initially measured Ken’s knee extension, it was greatly restricted. The degree of restriction forced Ken to bear weight on a significantly bent knee, which caused increased pain and wear and tear. As a result, Ken was at a point following surgery where he could not walk normally on his right leg.

To correct the problem and get Ken walking normally again, Paul recommended a combination of manual therapy and treatments using both the Class IV deep tissue therapeutic laser and the HIVAMAT® 200 deep oscillation therapy device.

Dynamic Duo

The Class IV laser uses specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal cells. It works by releasing nitric oxide, which removes congestion and swelling, promotes rapid healing and reduces discomfort while increasing blood circulation.

The HIVAMAT 200 creates gentle impulses that relax muscles and penetrate all tissue layers to remove all the inflammatory byproducts from the cells that cause pain but are not part of the cells’ natural makeup.

“The Class IV laser in particular is an impressive and versatile tool,” adds Charles Donley, PT, director of Regional Rehab. “We use it for burn and wound patients as well as for all the different musculoskeletal issues we typically treat such as acute, chronic and postoperative pain.”

“I could not believe I gained that much relief in such a short period of time.” – Susan

Susan Wilkerson can attest to the versatility of the Class IV laser. Like Ken, Susan was given a combination of Class IV laser and HIVAMAT 200 treatments after she visited Regional Rehab following surgery for two broken bones just above her right wrist.

“I broke those bones doing something very silly,” Susan confides. “I was trying to dab this one little spot high up on a wall that I’d missed while painting, and when I stepped on the step stool to reach it, the stool went one way, and I went the other.

“I wound up landing on my right side, and that’s how I broke my arm. I had to have two surgeries to repair it, but afterward, even after six weeks of therapy, I was still in so much pain that I couldn’t do anything with my right hand.

“I couldn’t do something as simple as turn a doorknob without it hurting. I couldn’t brush my teeth, open up a jar or even pick up a fork because I had no strength. Then I saw an article in Florida Health Care News about Regional Rehab and decided to call them.”

In addition to the Class IV laser and HIVAMAT 200 treatments, Paul recommended for Susan a series of manual mobilization and relaxation therapies. After three weeks of treatment – a total of nine visits – Susan was using her hand regularly again.

“I had gone months without being able to use that hand at all, so I was totally dumbfounded that I got that kind of relief so quickly,” Susan exudes. “I could not believe I gained that much relief in such a short period of time.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Susan Wilkerson

Back to Normal

Unlike Susan, Ken’s decades of suffering required him to receive some additional treatments to get his knee back in proper working order. Happily, with the Class IV laser and HIVAMAT 200, he too gained an astonishing degree of relief.

“At the end of those treatments, Ken’s range of motion improved to allow the knee to be straight while standing and to achieve 117 degrees of flexion (bending) while sitting,” Paul says. “Normal is anywhere between 130 and 135 degrees, so he is more than functional now.”

Ken is not just functioning normally again. He is also walking well enough to go up and down stairs, playing golf and working out at the gym on a regular basis. He says he doubts he’d be doing any of that were it not for Regional Rehab.

“They really know what they’re doing there,” he enthuses. “I was very impressed with their work. They made sure that when I walked out of there, I was all set. And I really like that they treat you like family there. They really care about people.”

Ken says he’s already recommended Regional Rehab to a few friends who have been dealing with various degrees of pain and discomfort. Susan, a retired attorney whose treatments allowed her to return to her favorite activity, gardening, has done the same.

“I would recommend Regional Rehab to anyone who’s suffering like I was,” she says. “They really do wonders with the laser and all the other therapies they offer. And they’re all so honest and caring and kind. I just can’t say enough good things about them.”

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    • Regional Rehab

      Regional Rehab's ultimate goal is to enrich people’s lives by helping to enhance their physical and mental well being, creating an atmosphere of quality care and optimum healing with a loving touch.... Read More

    • Charles C. Donley, PT

      Charles C. Donley, PT, is director of Regional Rehab. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy, graduating cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh, PA. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and Fl... Read More

    • Paul Ernandes, PT, PhD

      Paul Ernandes, PT, PhD, joined the Regional Rehab team in April 2018. His arrival comes after he spent nearly a year serving as the director of physical therapy at Vitality Physicians and Rehab. Paul previously worked for ten years as the dire... Read More